Program 43: Mall Builders of the Monongahela.

KENNY PLODLEIGH HERE with another edition of Plodleigh’s Ancient Mysteries. Today we venture once again into the ancient and mysterious valley of the Monongahela, a landscape littered with the remains of lost civilizations.

These magnificent ruins behind me, still impressive after literally decades, once formed one of the most remarkable constructions of the remarkably advanced peoples who inhabited this storied valley. We know from their ancient writings that these people called this palatial structure a “mall,” but as yet there is no agreement among archaeologists as to what its purpose might have been.

Some believe that it may have been a vast religious complex, perhaps housing hundreds of monks dedicated to the service of the gods Gimbels and J. C. Penney, the names you can still see in faded letters at opposite ends of the structure.

Others suggest that it may have been the palace of a powerful chieftain, whose many retainers occupied the numerous large cells arranged along a  corridor between the two large throne-rooms; on this hypothesis, Gimbels and J. C. Penney may have been the names of the chieftain and his queen.

But I think the most plausible hypothesis is that the whole complex was a sort of primitive Internet, where goods of all descriptions could be purchased. According to this view, each of the stalls along the central corridor would have been a separate Web site dealing in a particular specialty, while the magnificent chambers at the ends were megasites, similar to our, in which a wide variety of merchandise might be procured. This hypothesis has the advantage of solving the longstanding mystery of how primitive peoples carried on commerce on a large scale before the introduction of even a rudimentary form of hypertext transfer protocol.

I wish I could show you how magnificently preserved the interior is, but our insurance company won’t let us take the cameras in there. So join us next week, when we’ll be exploring the world of chivalry and romance as we delve deep into the secrets of the Knights of Columbus. Until then, I’m Kenny Plodleigh for Plodleigh’s Ancient Mysteries, and after that I’ll probably still be Kenny Plodleigh. There—you told me to put some jokes in, so was that funny enough?